This past weekend, Toronto was battered by an epic ice storm that’s blanketed our roads with swaths of ice thick enough for a skater to perform a double axel on. It’s also produced a kind of beauty we rarely see.
Of course, being a photographer, I braved the bitter cold and dangerously slick sidewalks with my down-filled jacket, winter boots and mitts to capture what the ice blast left us. I kept my DSLR in the safety of my home but armed myself with my iPhone.
Some of the scenes were—and still are—quite the sight to behold, and there’s no telling when I’ll see anything like it again. I’ve been posting my images on Instagram as an ice storm series, but have collected them below for the purposes of this post.
Despite the beauty of its aftermath, the storm has unfortunately also left a dark trail of destruction: 300,000 Toronto residents have been left without power in freezing temperatures just days before Christmas (thankfully, I’m not one of them). Frozen trees have toppled over cars, houses, power lines and transformers. It’s wreaking havoc on our roads and public transit system. Travellers have been stranded at Pearson Airport. (I haven’t documented any of these scenes as I haven’t witnessed any of them.)
The weekend has been disastrous, but it’s brought residents together in a way that only an emergency of this scale could. The chaos of holiday shopping and planning has been put on pause as some Torontonians seek shelter, and others extend to them a helping hand.
I’m thankful for the winter wonderland of glistening surfaces and icicles… but, more importantly, the reminder of what the holidays should bring out in all of us: gratitude, empathy and a sense of community.
Happy holidays to you, wherever you may be. And if you’ve been affected by the storm, please stay warm and safe.